Monday, August 13, 2007

When craving for Japanese food... (Part II) @ Wa-raku

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Salmon Tartare at Wa-raku Japanese Dining House

Since I have just previously blogged about Japanese fast-food at Sakae Sushi, I reckon it would be apt to continue the review except this time, at a proper Japanese fine-dining restaurant.
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Interior of Wa-Raku
Wa-raku, located along Jalan Stonor (near Jalan Kia Peng further down the road from Top Hat Restaurant, in the vicinity of KLCC) is housed in an old bangalow. Minimalistic decor (think zen) yet rather charming and cozy at the same time.

To start, my friend and I ordered a few small dishes.
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Grilled Assorted Mushroom salad in a citrusy dressing
Very light in taste and portion size, I find this dish to be on the average only. Just a simple, refreshing but also forgettable salad.

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Next, we had an unique yet simple appetizer named "Neba neba something". It's basically made up of crunchy sliced jicama and four-angled beans with natto (traditional Japanese snack made from fermented soy beans) topped with crispy shredded seaweed and raw quail's egg. Mix everything together to get a really tantalizing albeit a slightly sticky appetizer. But you have to be ok with the taste of natto before hand. If you don't like natto, then avoid this.

My favourite dish of the night must be their Salmon Tartare (pictured above). Minced raw salmon with sesame seeds in light wasabi sauce and topped with a raw egg. When mixed together, the flavour is simply sublime, simply fantastic. Oishi!

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We also ordered a plate of sushi rolls. I forgot the name of this dish but it is a deep-fried reverse roll that (supposedly) has unagi (eel). When it arrived, I thought the dish was rather breathtaking. Just look at the generous toppings of fish roe. The really sparkled under the lights and looked like millions of tiny glistening gems on top of the sushi rolls.
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Twinkle, twinkle little roe...

But alas, despite its promising presentation, I was let down by the taste. In fact, I don't remember much taste at all other than an odd but strangely familiar taste that I couldn't quite pinpoint. And where is the unagi??? Needless to mention, the best part is obviously the tobiko roe.

Instead of the usual sashimi, I thought of trying something different. This is a grilled whole pike mackerel.
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Grilled Pike Mackerel
The presentation is pretty awesome. The fish reminded me of a dancing dragon. Magnificent but slightly disturbing too, don't you think? Also, I didn't quite know how to appreciate this fish. It reminded me of ikan kembong bakar. Flesh was rather taut with many tiny bones. I much prefer the ayu (sweetfish).
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Unagi Handrolls
Disappointed with the earlier unagi sushi rolls, we ordered another round of Unagi Handrolls. Again, it did little to elavate my earlier disappointment. For me, good handrolls must have really fresh and crispy seaweed. Here, the seaweed was already limp and that spoiled the rest of the handroll for me. To give them credit though, my friend remarked that the handrolls were delivered rather promptly and had been sitting on our table for some time, unnoticed by me.

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Sweet ending, home-made matcha ice cream with sweet azuki beans. There wasn't many choices on the menu. Although the waitress recommended a peach ice-cream not on the menu, I ordered this instead when told by the waitress that the peach ice-cream was imported and not home-made. Although not exciting, I have always found satisfaction for my sweet tooth in the classic pairing of green tea ice-cream with red beans...Delicious!

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WA-RAKU Japanese Dining House
3 Jalan Stonor, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2145 0448


Big Boys Oven said...

The egg dish whereby raw egg inside the egg shell reminds me of what I saw in cambodia. ;)

MeiyeN said...

goodness.. am so hungry now.. where's stoner road? O_o near by...?

myCoffee said...

Hi big boys oven,
Nothing disgusting, I hope. :)

Hi meiyen,
It's very near KLCC. Do you know Top Hat or the old Bon Ton? You will see from the same road.

boo_licious said...

Ah, Waraku! I've always wanted to try them but they're closed on Sunday lunch. Will definitely order the salmon tartare the next time.

KampungboyCitygal said...

twinkle twinkle little roe..they are sooooooooo pretty

Tummythoz said...

U sound happier at Sakae Sushi...

myCoffee said...

Hi boo,
Oh yes, you definitely should.

Hi kbcg,
Yeah, when the dish arrived, I couldn't take my eyes away from it for a while. ;)

Hi Tummythoz,
Do I? If I did, it's entirely unintentional. Probably because I have dined at Sakae many times and know what I like where as at Wa-Raku, it was my first visit so the dishes that we ordered were a combination of hits-and-misses.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I used to go to Waraku before the chef left. Gotta love the presentation of the food. Gorgeous!!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wah the amount of roe is humongous.! going to suggest dinner there soon wif my gf 1st..

MeiyeN said... it, thanks!

Big Boys Oven said...

Well depends how you see it, the local likes it, eat them like snacks, we find it so **** yuk! You can see little tiny feathers...

myCoffee said...

Lemongrass, you mean there was a change of chef? I wonder which was better...

Joe, this is definitely a good place for a romantic dinner. ;-)

Meiyen, you are welcome.

BBO, I know what you mean. Those are half or almost fully-developed embryos. Eeewww, can't imagine eating those!

daphne said...

oooooooo.. the salmon ..... *Drool* boy i miss a good jap meal! looks like u had fun as well =)